Changing a mallsai

Redwood Ryan

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Hey all,

I bought this mallsai ficus from Lowes a few months ago. They had it all dressed up and pitiful looking, so I just had to save it :D

Here is what it looked like when I saved it:


I saved it:


Weird mark on the trunk:


Back:


Here is what I want to do. I want to kind of change it into a semi-cascade, as I couldn't think of a good place to air layer it due to that drastic bend. If I did air layer it, however, it would be right above that weird trunk mark.

I think it would probably look like this if I did NOT air layer it and went the semi-cascade route:


I think the air layer would take away a lot of the trunk and leave me with something like this:



Comments? Advice?

Thanks!
 

360

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Looks like one a got last winter. I would not do a semi-cascade. I would put it back to the original orientation before you saved it and grow it out. I'm going to attach pix of a similar ficus i picked up for 5 dollars. I just potted it up a year ago. When I first got it, it had a total of 3 leaves. I'm going to repot it and wire it this summer but I'm not going to invest a lot of time on it because like yours, its not "great material."
 

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Redwood Ryan

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Thank you, but I feel that is really the only acceptable way the tree can be changed, and I thought it looked nice as well :)
 

360

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If you do choose to make it into a semi cascade, it will have a box like look to it. Most people would try and avoid right angles and things that are vertical or horizontal to the pot. But if you want to try just plant it in a deep pot and try to fit the roots. No reason to airlayer it unless you just want to try to airlayer something. graham potter has a good video on youtube on how to airlayer. This elm in the picture was repositioned almost 90 degrees and I think your ficus could also be repositioned without layering. after you reposition it, just wrap some long fiber sphagnum moss at the base so surface roots can develop quickly.
 

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treebeard55

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Ryan, I partly agree with 360. If it were mine, I'd put it into a grow pot/box, feed the heckoutuvit, and see what it produces in a year. Ficus microcarpa are vigorous as Congressional egos, and within a year it will probably present you with a number of new possibilities.

They also root easily. I got a "mallsai S" microcarpa two years ago, and have ended up removing one chunk after another as I look for a workable design. Pieces an inch thick have rooted promptly. I've gotten more than half a dozen new trees from the first, and the process ain't done yet!
 

Redwood Ryan

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Hmm very interesting, thank you both. What other options could be produced out of a mass produced tree though??
 

Redwood Ryan

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I decided to go for the semi-cascade direction. I realize not everyone will like it, but it is what I really saw in it. So, here it is today:





Comments?
 

treebeard55

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... I realize not everyone will like it, but it is what I really saw in it. ...

Comments?
What?? How dare you go against what "everyone will like??" :eek: Following what you the artist see in it -- whoever heard of such a thing?? :eek::eek:

OK, I hope my language is extreme enough to make it obvious right away that I mean the opposite of what I just wrote! :D :D Good for you, Ryan! Go for it: it's your tree, your vision.
 

Redwood Ryan

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What?? How dare you go against what "everyone will like??" :eek: Following what you the artist see in it -- whoever heard of such a thing?? :eek::eek:

OK, I hope my language is extreme enough to make it obvious right away that I mean the opposite of what I just wrote! :D :D Good for you, Ryan! Go for it: it's your tree, your vision.
Oh yes, I understand :D

I just really saw a cascade/semi-cascade and I didn't have one in my collection, so I thought why not :rolleyes:
 

Redwood Ryan

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I learned to agree with everyone when they said it had a 'box look' to it and looked like a typical mallsai ficus just turned on its side. So I did dramatic work and changed it from one tree to two. Here it is before the major work:


Chopped back, first time:


Cutting before work:


Cutting after work with leader picked and base flared:


I then decided the base on the tree was hideous and chopped the tree again tonight, here is that ugly, rootless base:


Then chopped back again:


And flared the base on that cutting:




I'll let both cuttings grow, grow, grow!


Any comments??
 

treebeard55

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Update on my own "mallsai"

Like Ryan, I've been working on developing a natural-looking tree out of one with the "infamous S." So even if this is an update about my tree, it's about his topic! :D

And I trust no one will mind if I give a link to my blog post -- rather than type everything all over again! :) Thanks!

http://hoosierbonsai.blogspot.com/2012/11/a-tree-that-has-paid-for-itself.html
 

Redwood Ryan

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Like Ryan, I've been working on developing a natural-looking tree out of one with the "infamous S." So even if this is an update about my tree, it's about his topic! :D

And I trust no one will mind if I give a link to my blog post -- rather than type everything all over again! :) Thanks!

http://hoosierbonsai.blogspot.com/2012/11/a-tree-that-has-paid-for-itself.html

Not a problem Steve. Unfortunately though, this one is long gone :(

Nice blog!


P.S. Google Chrome says your blog is in Romanian?? :confused:
 

C.A. Young

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As you've already chosen what to do, this won't apply to you. But to anyone in similar circumstances--i.e. rescued a mallsai--why not consider growing 5 or 6 long shoots, feeding heavily, and then thread grafting each precisely where you need branches. Ficus respond well to this treatment, and I've had threads take in as little as three months...Just a thought.

As for your chosen route: good 4 you! Ultimately, you're the one who has to stare at the thing day-in and day-out. If the painting's going to be hanging in your living room, why not be the one who paints it.
 
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